How normal am I? or "How Normal Am I ?," is an artistic project and an interactive documentary created as part of the Sherpa research program of the European Union. Its objective: to demonstrate how facial recognition algorithms are increasingly used to judge us.
The result is this website in which you only have to show your face for an artificial intelligence to go to predict your age, gender, body mass index, emotional state, and even "beauty" level and life expectancy.
A wake-up call
Its creator, Tijmen Schep, is a technology critical artist and privacy designer, who wants to demonstrate how increasingly these AI-powered algorithms and systems are influencing our lives.
Schep explains that most people just don't know this is happening, and your project lets us experience it for ourselves:
On dating websites, you may only be matched with people who are just as attractive. An insurance agency may have bought profiles of companies that use algorithms to judge your health or mental stability. It may be that your job application has been judged by an algorithm that has determined that you are not sociable enough for the company. The list grows.
When entering Hownormalami.eu you need to offer access to your camera for the machine to judge you. No personal data is collected. The terms and conditions of the site establish that nothing is sent to its servers, the entire facial recognition process is done on your own computer, in the browser.
In the "test" your face is compared to that of other people who took the test before. At the end of the show you can, if you want, share some anonymized data. These data will be used to recalculate the new average, or that new "normal". Beyond that, anonymous data is not shared.